If you suspect that you may have hearing loss, it can be tough to know where to begin.
There are lots of questions to answer like “who should I talk to?” “Will the visit be covered by my insurance?” “how do I find a good audiologist?”
We’ll be answering these questions and more in this week's post to help you get started on your hearing care journey.
First Stop: Your Primary Care Physician
If you’re not quite sure whether or not you have hearing loss, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician (PCP) or bring up the fact during your next routine appointment. They can give you general advice on the type of testing that should be done and how often you should get checked out.
If your doctor is part of a larger practice, there may be an audiologist that is a part of the practice. Should this be the case, they can also order a hearing test right away. If they are a smaller practice or not affiliated with a larger health system, they may still be able to refer you directly to an audiologist in your area.
Ask Your Insurance Company
If you have health insurance and are looking for an audiologist near you, it's important to ask your insurance company what they require from an audiologist.
They may have a preferred provider or one that they work with most often. This can help reduce costs and depending on supplementary health insurance such as Medicare and Medicaid, you may not have to pay anything more than a co-pay for a hearing test or related appointments.
If it turns out you need hearing aids, however, there will be more conversations with your insurance company to be had. Depending on the plan you have, you may be able to use your HSA, HRA, or FSA benefits to mitigate the cost.
Finding an Audiologist
If your insurance company or PCP doesn’t have any preferences or connections, you can always turn to your personal network for help.
Ask your friends, family, and colleagues if they know any audiologist they can recommend. Likewise, if someone in your life has a hearing impairment, they might be able to recommend their own audiologist.
If all else fails, you can always turn to social media and ask for recommendations on Facebook or Twitter.
What to Look for in an Audiologist
Once you’ve narrowed down a few choices of who you might see or who may be in network with your insurance, it’s time to do a little research.
Check out the audiologist’s website, see if they have reviews, and get to know them before you go in for your appointment so that you know what to expect.
This includes things like:
- Make sure the audiologist is licensed in your state
- Looking up any professional organizations they belong to
- Seeing if they have any certifications, specialized training, or continuing education courses that are relevant to your healthcare situation
What Should I Bring to My First Appointment With My Audiologist?
When you arrive for your appointment with your audiologist, you’ll have to do intake paperwork especially if it is not a part of the same practice.
In addition to your health insurance information, you should come prepared with:
- Questions you may have
- A list of your medications
- Current hearing aids or PSAP devices you use (if any)
Will I Have to Get Hearing Aids?
Just because you go get your hearing tested doesn't mean you need a hearing aid. Having a baseline test is still important. there's no requirement for purchasing anything.
Getting the hearing test is the start of your journey for hearing needs. As you age, it helps to have a baseline so you know if something does change, you can have something to compare it to.